Free Berston concert Thursday to feature Flint voices, Yo-Yo Ma, Olaniran

By Jan Worth-Nelson

Ed note:  This has been updated to correct the address of Berston Field House.  It is 3300 Saginaw St.

A free “cultural community showcase” featuring Flint performers along with famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma is set for 4-6 p.m. Thursday at Berston Field House, 3300 Saginaw St.  Recording artist and musician Tunde Olaniran, who grew up in Flint, will co-host.

No tickets are required and seats are first-come first-served.  Spokespersons from the University Musical Society (UMS) said Ma himself will perform midway through the event.

The event is part of a Flint-based “Day of Action” requested by Ma as an add-on to an international tour by the acclaimed musician.

Yo-Yo Ma (Photo by Jason Bell)

According to the UMS, the showcase aims to feature “performances and presentations that show off Flint’s vitality, diversity, and artistry, and tell Flint’s story in new ways.” The event will include food from Flint Farmers’ Market vendors, an “interactive community visual art project,” storytelling, and hands-on art-making.

Ma also will meet earlier in the day at the Flint Fresh Food Hub with an invitation-only group of 50 Flint leaders “to explore how culture can raise all voices in Flint and build a more inclusive and resilient community.”

Wednesday night, Ma will be in Ann Arbor, giving a lecture at Hill Auditorium about “Culture, Understanding, and Survival.”

Friends of Berston Executive Director Bryant Nolden said, “We are extremely excited that Yo-Yo Ma has chosen the Flint Community for one of his Days of Action, and we’re so honored to be a community sponsor and host site for this event.”

Berston Field House is one of the community arts organizations benefitting from the arts millage passed by Genesee County voters last year.  The funds, which started arriving with the winter tax bills, are bringing about $400,000 a year for the next 10 years to the iconic north end facility.

Yo-Yo Ma’s visit is being co-sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor and the University of Michigan–Flint Office of the Provost, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Hagerman Foundation, and the Ruth Mott Foundation.

More information on the Day of Action activities and tickets to the Feb. 27 Ann Arbor talk is available at or by calling 734-754-2538.

Banner image:  Yo-Yo Ma in Leipzig (Photo by © Mustafah Abdulaziz for the New York Times)

EVM Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at





Author: East Village Magazine

A Non-profit, Community News Magazine Since 1976

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